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Trees A Crowd

White & Grey Poplars: Twelve labours of Heracles, vs. Two non-native Poplars

Season 3, Ep. 9

Our seventeenth and eighteenth trees, the White (Populus alba) and Grey (Populus x canescens) Poplars. As our two native Poplars - the Black and the Aspen - are becoming increasingly rare on the British Isles, I’ve treated myself to a couple of bonus trees that are relatively common here, but not strictly native species - for, as I'm sure you're all well aware: “Once you Poplar, you can’t Stop-lar...” Anyway... The White Poplar (non-native) is steeped in European Myth and Legend, which gives me yet another opportunity to throw some Greeks your way, and the Grey (a native hybrid) is one of the largest trees on our Isles. Both great trees, well worth a bonus episode! More from David Oakes as he uproots the secrets and stories beneath the 56(ish) Native Trees of the British Isles can be found at: https://www.treesacrowd.fm/56Trees/

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  • 9. Tim Kendall & Fiona Mathews (PART TWO): Eye spy an eco-engineer! Deep in the Forest of Dean in search of the contentious Wild Boar...

    34:51
    In the second part of David Oakes' interview with Professors Fiona Mathews and Tim Kendall, the mammal-enthused trio head into the Forest of Dean in search of Wild Boar!Fiona Mathews is a professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex and the founding Chair of Mammal Conservation Europe; Tim Kendall is a professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, and; their dog Charlie Brown is an especially trained labrador with the talent for locating the bodies of bats that have been killed or injured by wind turbines, all in the name of conservation science. Together, they wrote the Wainwright award-nominated book “Black Ops & Beaver Bombing: Adventures with Britain’s Wild Mammals”. In this two part interview, hear how Fiona’s construction of the Red List for British Mammals informs our Government and has lead to cutting edge mammal conservation projects. They discuss the British Coypu population that caused concern in the 1980s, the effectiveness of the mysterious “Beaver Bombers” secretly releasing animals across Europe, and the tale of the lone Scottish Pine Marten that ended up in Georgia, USA (a fate subjectively worse than the Beech Marten who got stuck in the Large Hadron Collider!) The trio of Fiona, Tim and David (alas without Charlie Brown) then head into the Forest of Dean to locate the most contentious of Britain’s mammals – the Wild Boar!
  • 8. Fiona Mathews & Tim Kendall: Wild Mammals are far from 'Boar-ing'

    45:08
    Fiona Mathews is a professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex and the founding Chair of Mammal Conservation Europe; Tim Kendall is a professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, and; their dog Charlie Brown is an especially trained labrador with the talent for locating the bodies of bats that have been killed or injured by wind turbines, all in the name of conservation science. Together, they wrote the Wainwright award-nominated book “Black Ops & Beaver Bombing: Adventures with Britain’s Wild Mammals”. In this two part interview, hear how Fiona’s construction of the Red List for British Mammals informs our Government and has lead to cutting edge mammal conservation projects. They discuss the British Coypu population that caused concern in the 1980s, the effectiveness of the mysterious “Beaver Bombers” secretly releasing animals across Europe, and the tale of the lone Scottish Pine Marten that ended up in Georgia, USA (a fate subjectively worse than the Beech Marten who got stuck in the Large Hadron Collider!) The trio of Fiona, Tim and David (alas without Charlie Brown) then head into the Forest of Dean to locate the most contentious of Britain’s mammals – the Wild Boar!
  • 7. Rob Stoneman: Resurrecting Rainforests, Protecting Peat and Constructing Conservation Kingdoms along our Coastlines

    01:00:34
    Rob Stoneman wanted to make lots of money in the oil industry… and then he found peat! This episode is a deep dive into that blancmange-like substance that should be our saviour. Also, the Wildlife Trusts’ plans to grow a new rain forest in North Wales and Rob’s dream of having a mile deep nature reserve that circumnavigates the entirety of the British Isles coastline.A geologist at source, Rob has grown into a leading expert on the pragmatism required for landscape reform on the British Isle. Before becoming the inaugural Director of Landscape Recovery at the Wildlife Trusts, Rob managed vast areas of burgeoning biodiversity across the European continent for Rewilding Europe. Prior to that, he ran the Sheffield, then Hampshire and then the Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts.Rob and David tackle some genuinely daunting subjects: green finance and carbon credits, the feasibility and required timescale for achieving carbon neutrality, the post-Brexit opportunities for reformed agro-subsidy schemes, the potential symbiosis between nature tourism and food production, how conservation NGOs collaborate without becoming an enviro-cartel, and there’s even time to squeeze in a compliment to none other than Michael Gove(?!)And if that doesn’t float your boat, then stick around for the bison, the elk, and the pumas that prey upon guinea pigs!
  • 6. The Horstmann Trust: Vultures in the Valleys!

    01:10:17
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  • 5. Andy & Peter Holden: A Filial History of Nest Building

    55:15
    At the launch of his latest video installation at the Tate St Ives, artist Andy Holden meets with David Oakes to discuss the creativity present within the bird world. But, whilst exploring avian aesthetics, Andy's artwork - "A Natural History of Nest Building" - also explores the roles of nature versus nurture at an additional level. This exhibition, one exploring how and why Birds learn to create nest structures, is created by a father and son team; the son an artist, and the father a famous ornithologist. Which begs question: was this film, one about creating homes, nurturing eggs, and fledging one’s young, really just about birds? In this ornithological deep dive, Andy and Peter Holden discuss approaching a shared passion from opposite directions. You'll hear about the super-stimulus associated with the gaping beak of the infanticide-committing cuckoo, the individual spin that different birds of the same species place upon their own personal nests, and the complicated legacy of the mysterious egg-stealing Jordain Society. Andy Holden is a multi-faceted artist who has exhibited at the Tate Britain, has had music aired on BBC 6 Music, and has created everything from human-sized bower-bird bowers, to enormous knitted rocks based upon a piece of pyramid which he stole as a boy. His father, Peter Holden MBE, worked for the RSPB for almost 40 years to boost their youth engagement. He was most notably instrumental in developing their “Big Garden Birdwatch” - the UK’s first 'citizen science' project, which has been running now for 45 years, and counted around 190 million birds.
  • 4. Dr David Hetherington: Reintroducing the Lynx lynx lynx to our Cairngorms (a cat so enigmatic that they named it thrice!)

    01:02:29
    Dr David Hetherington is an expert on the Eurasian Lynx and the beneficial links Lynx (Lynx lynx lynx) can manifest within our complicated British ecosystems. What he doesn’t know about the Lynx’s rich history across Europe is not worth knowing: Hear why Hildegard von Bingen thought drinking Lynx urine was highly beneficial; when exactly(ish) Lynx were wiped from British shores leaving only one town name with any form of association to a once indigenous species, and; how the Nazis could be considered the twentieth century’s first big-mammal “re-wilders”. But, most importantly, David answers the big question: does Britain have enough well connected forest habitat to safely support a large mobile forest-dependent species? Specialising in species reintroduction programmes, David managed the Cairngorms Wildcat Project and actively encouraged a positive relationship with gamekeepers to help all parties work for nature conservation without getting “sucked into the vortex of raptor politics”. He also sits on the board of Trees for Life - an award-winning charity that works to enhance the native woodland ecology of the Scottish Highlands. To that end, expect wildcats, red squirrels, pine martens, capercaillies, as well as the animal so cool they named it thrice, Lynx lynx lynx, in this immersive and informative wildlife deep dive.
  • 3. Dr Ruth Tingay: From Birds in Boxes to Rivers of Raptors; One woman’s mission for Wild Justice against Raptor Persecution

    01:04:20
    Dr Ruth Tingay is a conservationist and campaigner who has spent her career primarily focused upon the world’s raptor population (that’s Birds of Prey, rather than Veloci-...) Her career was inadvertently kickstarted through working at Heathrow airport’s Animal Reception Centre. Here she welcomed back the UK’s Red Kite population for their reintroduction to our country, as well as the usual pampered felines, escaped pooches, and boxes stuffed full of mystery birds. Throw Nile Crocodiles, an annual Mexican Hawk Migration of 4.6 million birds and the DNA of Golden Eagles into the mix, and you get an incredibly varied career that has leapfrogged the globe from Mauritius to Mexico then on to Madagascar and many other countries beginning with ‘M’ besides. But since 2009, Ruth has been focused upon the plights of our domestic birds; shedding light upon wildlife crime through her Raptor Persecution blog, and through joining with Mark Avery and Chris Packham to spearhead their Wild Justice which is holding the Governments of Britain to account for ongoing enviro-failings and eco-crimes.
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    Hello, and welcome to a little festive bonus Trees A Crowd. Some of the eagle eared amongst you may have noticed that the regular “three final questions” were missing from this month’s interview with the artist and activist, Katie Holten. Well… …it’s because they’re here! So, before I hand you over to Katie for an additional stocking filler, I wish you all a glorious Christmas, and a new year tingling with positivity and promise.Merry Christmas!
  • 2. Katie Holten: Hedge Schools, Tree Time and the Language of our Forests

    48:48
    Katie Holten is a visual artist and environmental activist who splits her time between Ireland and New York. She has exhibited at the Venice biennale and many galleries across the globe, with her work being described as “…an ongoing investigation of the inextricable relationship between man and the natural world in the age of the Anthropocene.” Recently she created the internationally best-selling book, “The Language of Trees”.Reclining in a mossy moot deep within the Woodland Trust’s Duncliffe Woods, Katie shares with David Oakes how her passion for nature stems from two roots: her mother – a gardener, teacher and floral artist – and her father – a man who led Katie to be enthralled by logic and physics and Feynman. Katie is now an artist who prides herself upon collecting the connected and noticing that from chaos sprouts equilibrium. It is perhaps not unsurprising then that she has devoted her artistic career to creating compendiums of things she feel necessary to share, and devoting her personal life to many of the goals of Extinction Rebellion.